Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and the New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

When Democracy Strikes Back

The good news: Democracy is breaking out all over. The awkward news: The more that people freely vote, the more fervently they reject the global designs of George W. Bush and the America he projects. In the Middle East, the people have freely chosen two governments that could not be more a repudiation of Bush's vision for the region, nor more alarming to broader hopes of peace and stability -- Hamas in Palestine and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. Even in Iraq, whose election was held under direct American tutelage, our preferred henchmen were decisively ousted. In Latin America, voters in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, and most recently Chile, have chosen governments that are social-democratic at best and caudillo-populist at worst. Mexico, where a popular radical, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, leads all polls, is probably next. Some, like Chile's new president, Michelle Bachelet, are admirable, others less so. But none supports Bush's vision of corporate globalism. America was...

Spinning the State of the Union

How do you give an upbeat State of the Union address when your major foreign policy, Iraq, is a quagmire; your signature domestic program, Medicare drugs, is a bomb; and nearly two thirds of Americans, according to the latest Gallup Poll, think the country is worse off than five years ago? Here are a few things to watch for in President Bush's first big election-year speech Tuesday: Mission Accomplished? On Iraq, look for rhetoric of steady resolve, coupled with promises to limit American exposure. Bush could offer a partial reduction of US combat troops during 2006 (in time for the mid-term election) -- but without any realistic prospect of a stable Iraqi government to fill the vacuum. One idea: a ''garrison strategy" of keeping most US forces safely inside bases. This might cut American combat losses, but cede the countryside to guerrilla fighters and anarchy. The Boy Who Cried Nukes. On Iran, watch for stern saber-rattling without a realistic plan to contain Iran's alarming nuclear...

Ingrate Judges

US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, speaking to a Boston Bar Association dinner where he recently received an award, told of a conversation decades ago with another federal judge in Chicago who owed his appointment to then-mayor Richard J. Daley. ''What does Mayor Daley think of you as a judge?" Woodlock asked. ''He thinks I'm an ingrate, and I think that's the way it should be," the Chicago judge replied. Woodlock approvingly observes that the history of the federal judiciary is filled with ingrates -- men and women (mostly men) who were appointed by a president thinking they would carry out his philosophy; but the judge then took the lifetime appointment seriously, or grew intellectually in office, and became a free spirit -- an ingrate. The tradition of a truly independent judiciary survives precisely because its appointees are not mere rubber stamps. Woodlock also worries that this independence sometimes leads judges to be too activist. Interestingly enough, if you look...

Is Corruption Enough?

The 2006 mid-term election will be among the most fateful in modern history. If the Democrats take back even one house, it will end the period of one-party rule and allow Congress to fully investigate the multiple embarrassments of the Bush administration. These fall into five broad categories: deceptive and illegal use of presidential power, plain incompetence, outright corruption, needless assaults on liberties, and using government to benefit the few rather than the many. Ripe particulars include the bungling of the planning for the Iraq occupation, the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, the extra-legal spying on Americans, the mess at the Department of Homeland Security, and the sweetheart deal between the administration's Medicare drug program and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Both parties understand the immense stakes. Real investigations of the above would frame how voters view the 2008 presidential election. They might even unearth impeachable offenses. In normal times,...

Attacking Alito

At this moment in American history, it would be hard to find a worse Supreme Court nominee than Samuel A. Alito Jr. His ideology captures everything extremist about the Bush administration. If confirmed, Alito would serve as Bush's enabler. He would give Bush effective control of all three branches of government and the hard-right long-term dominance of the high court. His confirmation or rejection will depend on the gumption of the Senate Democratic leadership and independence of a few Republicans. Alito, who would replace the moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, has never hidden his ultra-conservative views. Given the administration claims of an extra-legal presidency, what's most disturbing is the handy convergence of Alito's own conception of executive power and that of Bush. Citing the wartime powers of the president, Bush has asserted his right to ignore the legislative mandate of Congress in allowing the military to torture prisoners, the government's prerogative to spy on Americans...

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